Closing Statements – Tiny Mix Tapes

All music from Scandinavia seems to carry the burden of shorter days, diminished sunlight and frigid temperatures on it’s shoulders. Composer John Eric Kaada is no different, although his increasingly prolific neo-classical output, soundtracks and disparate compositions are approachable to a fault; through the years, sprawling albums like “Junkyard Nostalgias” and “Music for Moviebikers” have welcomed listeners into his immaculate soundscapes of globe-trotting folk and high-ceiling chambers. Even now, with the significantly darker “Closing Statements,” it’s clear that Kaada can do much more with much less.

“Closing Statements” is a somber affair from start to finish. It is an album that deals with death. And while it’s easy to engage in casual confirmation bias when approaching an album about death, understanding the composer’s relationship to the subject matter is left to one’s imagination. Kaada is a dedicated practitioner of movement all over Closing Statements; “Everything is an Illusion” keeps tumbling ahead with his Glass-like piano figures, and “Clearing out” buries clicking-clacking sticks under frightful dissonance. In each instance, all that’s inferred is the mere impression of what could be a destination. Where do we go from death? Quite possibly, nowhere.

Several quaint departures find themselves sandwiched between devastating meditations, in a near humorous manner; why are “Unknown Destination” and “On The Contrary” separated by “Wonder Out Loud?” In a way, Kaada doesn’t really deal with loss in a conventional sense. Death is absurd and Closing Statements is a testament to that fact. The only thing that guides us through the absurdity is the reliance on passing time. Even when the light breaks on “On The Contrary” with a thunderous percussion and larger- than-life strings, an inconspicuously small, pulsating synth quietly keeps time. Ultimately, Kaada’s relationship with death is not easy to decipher, but if there’s a takeaway from this particularly panoramic soundtrack, is that there’s always time for mourning, laughter and contemplation in the seemingly endless journey toward closure.

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